Daniel 9:2 Berean Study Bible

in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the sacred books, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.

Was there a recognized canon at Jeremiah/Daniel's time around 600 BC?

  • And what is Daniel's time, exactly ? The period when its main character is alleged to have lived, or the time when the book bearing his name was ultimately written ?
    – Lucian
    Jun 8 at 15:06
  • Good point. I added. Thanks.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 at 15:09
  • The DSS’s make it clear that there were ‘writings’ (books). The patriarchs (Adam, Noah, Aaron, etc) all wrote their memoirs/understandings for successive generations. (aka “the sacred books”). The ‘canon’ was not ‘closed/finalised’ until the prophet Ezra. (450-ish BC), so yes, close to, but not quite the time of Daniels writing.
    – Dave
    Jun 8 at 19:35
  • Please elaborate with references. I usually +1 just to encourage people to write an answer.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 at 19:57

The operative word here is סֵפֶר (sepher) = "book", "document". There is no adjective "sacred" in the text.

The word סֵפֶר is applied to various writings such as:

  • Those inside the Bible such as, Dan 9:2, Gen 5:1, Ex 24:7, Deut 28:58
  • Those outside the Bible such as, Num 21:14
  • Heavenly books such as Ex 32:32, 33
  • a letter, 2 Sam 11:14, 15, 1 Kings 21:8
  • a certificate of divorce, Deut 24:1, 3
  • a deed of land purchase, Jer 32:11, Isa 50:1

... and so forth. Therefore, nothing can be deduced about the status of a document, whether canonized or not, from the meaning of the word in Dan 9:2.

I presume that "sacred books" being an interpretive translation, was selected by BSB on the basis that the "sepher" was written by the revered prophet, Jeremiah.

The extent to which various writings were "sacred scriptures" at various times is highly debated. All that can be said, is that some books were highly regarded because they had been written by recognized prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah.

Others like the book of Jashar (Josh 10:13, 2 Sam 1:18) were not included in the Bible.

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